Glanbia Ireland and its family farm suppliers are embarking on a new initiative to drive increased planting of trees and hedgerows in the Irish countryside through the ‘Operation Biodiversity’ programme.

The initiative will utilise Glanbia Ireland’s CountryLife horticulturalists to work with farmers to “further enhance and enrich” the landscape.

Commenting on the launch, Glanbia Ireland chairman John Murphy said that the business will donate significant volumes of trees and hedging plants as part of a long-term programme to encourage biodiversity.

“We believe that by working together through our Operation Biodiversity programme, we can help enrich our landscape for generations to come,” he said.

Every single tree or metre of hedgerow planted makes a difference and builds on the great work that many farmers are already doing.

“We are aiming to plant 100,000 trees and hedging plants, however, that is just the first step,” he said.

Project details

Glanbia Ireland’s team of horticulturalists at its network of 14 CountryLife garden centres have created tree and hedgerow bundles for different soil types.

To help drive this initiative, Glanbia Ireland will donate 10 bare root trees for every low-cost bundle of 15 trees purchased. The options feature a ‘Rich Species Bundle’ to suit both limey and acidic soils, including a variety of trees such as oak, alder and mountain ash.

In addition, for every two hedgerow bundles purchased, Glanbia Ireland will donate a further bundle to cover an additional 10m.

Each low-cost hedgerow bundle has been carefully selected and includes 40 plants, which are a mixture of both bare root trees and hedging plants.

Operation Biodiversity has teamed up with environmental educator and broadcaster, Éanna Ní Lamhna, and is supported by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Commenting on the first phase of the programme, Dr. Úna FitzPatrick from the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan highlighted the importance of hedgerows as homes where our flora and fauna can thrive.

Flowering hedgerows can be a lifeline for nature, providing vital food for pollinators in spring, as well as berries in autumn for birds and mammals.

“The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about all of us taking small actions that together give pollinators and other biodiversity a fighting chance of survival,” said Dr. FitzPatrick.

‘This is a great initiative’

Éanna Ní Lamhna explained the benefits of the initiative:

“Vibrant hedgerows on farms provide wildlife corridors for many of the insects, birds and mammals that are such a help to the farming operations.

They also provide much needed shelter for grazing animals. Pockets of trees on farms play their part in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and help to combat climate change.

“The native species being donated by Glanbia will grow very well on Irish soils and enhance the appearance of the farms on which they are planted.”

Bryan Daniels, a dairy farmer from Co. Kilkenny added that farmers are always striving to do their very best to make their imprint on their farm and “leave it in even better condition for the next generation”.